There is so much choice for the festival goer at the moment, especially as we approach the heart of the summer when there seems to be something on every week. If you are looking for big stages, crowds and rides then there is a particular festival a bit further down the M5 which will be perfect for you..
Barn on the Farm, now in its 6 year, is set on the outskirts of the Gloucester on the charming site Over Farm amongst the chickens, pigs and inquisitive ostriches.It does away with all the excess of larger festivals and keeps things simple with music at its core.
Spread over 3 small stages (The Barn, Outside and Main), there is a real family atmosphere as you explore the site. Everyone is very laid back and it’s not uncommon to see the artists relaxing and mingling in the crowd as they check out other bands.
Just glancing at previous lineups around the site, this festival has always given the opportunity for upcoming artists to showcase their talent, with the likes of Ed Sheeran and James Bay passing through the barn gates before exploding nationally (showing how much love they have for this independent festival that they have all come back subsequent years to headline).
This year it’s Jack Garratt who brings his high energy one man show back to the farm following a successful 12 months since his last appearance on the outer stages.
Oh Wonder have also had an impressive year with Anthony and Josephine finding themselves closing the Saturday night. Their electro synth sounds and lush harmonies seem perfectly fitting for the beautiful evening sky following an afternoon of random heavy showers.
But with so much other talent to enjoy over the weekend, it wasn’t just the headliners that were worth focusing on.
The Wooden Barn stage is just a gorgeously intimate setting to perform in, wonderfully lit with decorative bulbs and bunting. You feel a real connection between the artist and the audience below and I found myself coming back here at every opportunity, witnessing standout sets from from Isaac Gracie, Hannah Grace, Gavin James and Martin Luke Smith.
Over on the Outside Stage, Black Honey get the afternoon crowd off the ground and onto their feet within the first few bars; frontwoman Izzy’s captivating vocal delivery backed up with catchy fuzzy guitars and drums grabs the attention of the crowd.
Flyte and Ady Suleiman keep the momentum going with their infectious bright tunes keeping the crowd dancing away despite the freak rain showers.
Back on the main stage, Eliza and the Bear clearly enjoy themselves. Confirming that this is the third time they have been back, each time fronting a bigger stage and you can see why they are welcome. The audience get in on the fun too, bouncing along to their catchy tunes before there is a small break in the proceedings as the band engage in an annual water ( vodka ) spray gun battle with fans in the front row.
There are similar large turnouts and sing-alongs for Brother & Bones, Port Isla and Rationale, with VANT in particular putting in an impressive high energy set.
One of the main draws for this years festival was the announcement of Farm Band, a collaboration between BOTF favourites Hudson Taylor, Gabrielle Aplin, Amber Run and Hannah Grace. The set brings a party-like atmosphere as lead vocal duties are passed around and the audience are treated to rousing renditions of their personal songs with added backing from all the other members. The friendship between them is plain to see with lots of laughing and joking between tracks. It’s wonderfully good fun and everyone left the Main stage with big smiles on their faces. A real highlight for the Saturday.
The band would pretty much repeat the feat the following day in the Wooden Barn Stage. Secret act Hudson Taylor are a man down following an unfortunate accident (wishing Harry a speedy recovery) but thankfully Alfie has his wonderful friends to call upon and we are treated to Farm Band pt2: another fantastic set left the audience baying for more on top of the already extended allocated time.
With this years event again selling out again well in advance, there is potential for expansion yet I’m sure the organisers will want to keep this special festival true to what it is..
Thank you Barn on the Farm, you were beautiful. See you again next year.
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